EBH: ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ as Seen from a Traditional Catholic’s Perspective

Welcome, welcome to another guest this week. Sayf Bowlin is a Catholic seminarian and fan of the science fiction / fantasy genre who enjoys the interplay between faith, reason and pop culture. He has graciously sent along his insights on the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series for our conversation.  Thanks for helping me with this subbing gig, Sayf!–Elizabeth

Percy Jackson and the Olympians:

My Two Drachmas: Some thoughts on the Series from a Catholic Perspective

by  Sayf Bowlin, KCHS

When I was in middle school, I read ravenously, so much so that my bus driver used to call me “the Professor.”  One of the subjects which I liked to read was Greek mythology. In my reading, I remember coming across a book in the school library which had an interesting conclusion.  It said that at some point in the history of Greece, the Christians came with their crucifixes and drove the Greek gods away – but they were waiting until the day they could return.  At the time, I thought this was very clever and liked the fact that it took Christianity seriously (so I thought), acknowledging that true worship of God banishes all idolatry (or so I thought).  Another book I saw recently in a book store concluded with the proclamation that the gods “are still with us.”  It would appear that this is the case, at least per Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

[Read more…]

EBH: The Hogwarts Professor Will Be At Pace University Friday April 30—Mark your Calendars!

If you don’t happen to live in the Midwest and can’t get to any of the fantastic programs John will be presenting over the next several days, don’t worry: he’s coming back east. On April 30, he will be at Pace University to sign copies of Spotlight as part of their Twilight-themed afternoon and evening. Nancy Reagin, editor of Twilight and History, will also be featured and will sign books. Knowing John and Nancy, it will be an absolutely super evening and well worth a visit to the big apple (very appropriate for a Twilight talk)!

Here is the official invite: [Read more…]

John Goes on April Speaking Tour – and an Over-Qualified Guest Hogwarts Professor Fills In!

I’ve been away from HogwartsProfessor for a few weeks to get ready for Pascha (Christos Anesti!) and to prepare all the talks I’ll be doing around the country this month. I won’t be here this next week but I found a replacement that will make you hope I never come back, by name Elizabeth Baird Hardy, author of Milton, Spenser and the Chronicles of Narnia: Literary Sources for the C.S. Lewis Novels, and a contributor to the just released Twilight and History (ed. Nancy Reagin). A Harry Potter, Narnia, Spencer, Hunger Games, and Twilight wonk rolled into one and a real world Professor to boot! Thank you, Prof. Hardy, for taking the helm here. I’m looking forward to your posts!

My speaking schedule next week and the topics I’ll be discussing are listed after the jump. Please introduce yourself if you make it to any of them! [Read more…]

‘Twilight’ Dissed by ‘Focus on the Family’?

Chuck Colson, once Watergate conspirator, now Evangelical Christian spokesman and leader,  endorsed the Harry Potter series on his nationally distributed radio program, BreakPoint. He gave a big thumbs-up in November, 1999, at the release of Prisoner of Azkaban to the magic of the books, their  morality, and the opening Ms. Rowling created to the tradition of Christian ‘High Fantasy’ in English Literature.  Legend has it that one of the more significant supporters of his Prison Ministry programs called to say he was withdrawing his support if Mr. Colson didn’t retract his Potter endorsement — and retract he did, first with a brief radio announcement and eventually with a full scale warning to parents, the position he maintains today. (A sample of the negative feedback Mr. Colson received in 1999 can be found here.)

I think we’re seeing something similar in recent comments on a Focus on the Family radio program about Twilight. Let’s take a quick look at the Focus history of Twilight reviews, the backlash from Conservative Christians (TM), and the response of a literature professor to the consequent back-pedaling on the radio. [Read more…]

Potter Pundits Live at Pace University! The Video

See the video recording here and read about it at the Hog’s Head.

The short version is “It was a lot of fun.” I am very grateful to friends at The Leaky Cauldron (Melissa), The Group That Shall Not Be Named (Jonathon), and Pace University (Prof. Limbach), as well as to Travis Prinzi and James Thomas, my fellow Pundits, for setting up the event and making it as enjoyable and edifying as it was.